One of the main things that made me want to come to New Zealand was seeing pictures of the Milford Sound.
I had initially planned to walk the Milford Track, but its popularity made this impossible without planning much farther ahead than I wanted to.
Instead, I decided to walk the nearby Routeburn track, working a cruise of Milford Sound in on the way to the track start.
Regardless, I was pretty excited when the day for my visit to Milford rolled around. The weather was not great, with heavy rain throughout the night and forecast for the same for the bulk of the next few days.
I got on the coach at Te Anau and we drove up the shore of the lake, heading north into the mountains. Along the way we stopped at the Mirror Lakes and Nobbs Flats for quick picture opportunities before continuing on past the Divide, start of the Routeburn track.
From there the coach carried on into the mountains, passing through stunning scenery on our way to the tunnel that passed through a Saddle into the Milford valley.
Coming out of the tunnel was a very dramatic experience, with sheer granite cliffs rising for 1000m all around. We wound or way through more beautiful areas as we wound our way down to the valley floor and among to the sound – or more accurately the fjord.
We’d been lucky throughout the journey to be travelling in patchy sunlight with no rain, and this held through to my time on the sound. On arrival there was still some sunshine, though threatening clouds were wrapped around the surrounding peaks and the fjord had a distinctly misty look.
The cruise took two hours and ran out past the imposing Mitre Peak, passing the two great waterfalls (Stirling and Lady Bowen) and several smaller ones.
The walls of the fjord were covered in relaxing seals who showed little interest in our passing as we motored out into the Tasman sea before retuning to the small port.
It remained dry throughout, not bad for a visit to a place reputed to be the second wettest place in the world.
From there we got back on the coach and drove back the way we’d come, stopping around mid afternoon to drop me at the Divide for the start of the Routeburn track.